Taste and See!!! He Is Risen!!!


The first bit is background. I don’t know all about all of you my readers. Just in case there is someone out there who has little or no experience with Communion in the Christian faith, I have included a little bit of background about the ritual called, “The Sacrament of Communion”. My Easter experience starts after the picture.

In the Christian Church, we have a special meal. We call it Communion. Jesus, celebrating the Passover festival with his friends, picked up a piece of unleavened bread, gave thanks for it and broke it into pieces. He declared, “This is a symbol of my body broken for you. Every time you eat this bread remember me.” He passed it out among friends, and together, they ate it. Later in the meal, he picked up a carafe filled with wine. In his time in much of the “Middle East,” potable water was scarce, expensive, and mostly, tasted terrible. Wine was cheaper, safer and mostly tasted better. He gave thanks for it, then poured it into a cup, saying, “This wine is a symbol of my blood poured out for you and for many. As often as you drink it, remember me.” He then shared the wine with his friends.

Over the centuries, that meal has taken many forms. The early Christian communities that could provided a full meal. Often, bread and wine were all they had.  In all cases, the Ritual of Communion was part of it, and all were fed. During the Reformation, in response to the perceived excesses of the church, Communion was reduced to a wafer or small piece of bread, and a thimbleful of wine.

During my adult life, my understanding of Communion has grown. I have learned that the bread can be white, brown, raisin, crackers, toast, flat bread. It needs only to be something available, common to all. The wine can be grape juice, orange juice, apple juice, any thing potable and unfermented, in order to include anyone who cannot handle alcohol. The point? Jesus used what he had. His intent? To leave us with a ritual to help us remember all that he had said and done to feed us and sustain us.

          Often Christians celebrate Communion on Easter Sunday. The church did where I led worship this past Easter Sunday. I always spend many hours preparing the service and the Communion liturgy, to make it as meaningful as possible. I chose “God’s Surprises” as my theme, basing my reflection and the entire service on the Easter Surprise: “He is not here. He is risen.”

When I arrived at the little church that morning, I was greeted by one of its very respected members.

“I have a surprise for you,” he said. “The person who normally sets up Communion is in Florida. No one picked up the job. We have no bread or juice for Communion.”

I glanced at my watch: fifteen minutes until service time. “Can we call someone who lives close by and ask them to bring some bread?”

“No one within walking distance. Anyone coming will be in their car and almost here.”

There was no nearby convenience store. Well God, what now? I thought. One word floated into my mind. Water.

“Can you get a pitcher of water from the kitchen?”

“Of course.”

Now what God?  I looked around. On the table by the door were several small bags filled with little slabs of chocolate, leftovers from their traditional Easter Egg project. Chocolate! Psalm 34:8“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

We filled the tiny communion glasses with water, and broke chocolate chunks onto the Communion plate. In the Service, I talked about the preciousness of water, a common part of our every meal. The chocolate, instead of dry bread, or crackers, was delicious. We ended the ritual with, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

          After the service, I went straight to my home church just in time for Communion. Upon arrival, each person had been given commercially prepared Covid Communion elements. Carefully, we each peeled off the plastic seal,  withdrew the dime-sized wafer and ate it. Next, we peeled the second layer of plastic, carefully, so as not to spill the sip of juice that lay underneath. Once again, all the people were nourished.

In my heart, I said to God, Thank you, thank you for the clear, tasty water from the church’s well, and the sweetness of homemade chocolate. Thank you for the person who created Communion elements to keep us safe from Covid contamination. Most of all, thank you for people who are creative, who can adapt. This past Easter two congregations were blessed. And… oh my, that chocolate was delicious. We were nourished, nourished on God’s surprises, and God’s wonderful sense of humour. Jesus does live within our hearts. Thanks be to God.


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